Biden Administration Reinstates COVID-19 Travel Ban, Adds South Africa

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • Effective January 26, 2021, President Biden reinstated a COVID-19 travel ban on travel from Brazil, Ireland, the UK and the Schengen Area
  • Effective January 30, 2021, the ban applies to South Africa
  • Many travelers, including nonimmigrants, who were physically present in the affected areas in the past 14 days are banned from entering the U.S.
  • Certain limited exceptions apply to the entry ban
  • The proclamation will remain in effect until it is terminated
  • Separate proclamations banning entry after presence in China and Iran remain in place


President Biden issued a presidential proclamation that bans entry into the U.S. for travelers who were physically present in Brazil, Ireland, the UK, the Schengen Area and South Africa in the past 14 days.

What are the Changes?

A COVID-19 travel ban that was imposed on certain countries in March 2020 was scheduled to be lifted on January 26, 2021. Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the Biden administration reinstated the travel ban.

The impacted countries are Brazil, Ireland, the UK, the Schengen Area, and South Africa.  South Africa is new to the travel ban and is impacted effective January 30, 2021.

The Schengen Area includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City.

Separately, proclamations banning entry into the U.S. after presence in the last 14 days in China and Iran remain in place.

Looking Ahead

The proclamation will remain in effect until it is terminated. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will assess by each month’s end and make a recommendation to continue, modify, or terminate the travel ban.

Envoy Global and Global Immigration Associates (GIA) are following this news closely and will provide additional updates as they become available.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Anne Walsh, who is a Managing Attorney at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.